Course Registration

undergrad bridge crossing red cone 23

As a first-year student, your Academic Support Advisor will assist you in registering for your A and B term classes. Students will receive a message from their Academic Support Advisor welcoming them to WPI and explaining the next steps in the registration timeline. During your First-Year Welcome Experience, you will have the opportunity to meet with your Academic Support Advisor and submit your preferences for fall courses. By mid-July, your Academic Support Advisor will use your course preferences and course availability to register you for a fall schedule.

Later in the fall, you will have the opportunity to register yourself for spring semester courses.  Each semester consists of two seven-week terms, referred to as A and B-term in the fall, and C and D-term in the spring.

Course Registration Timeline

Mid-May: Students will receive WPI login information. 

Mid-May: Math Placement Exam Opens 

Mid-May: Students will receive an email from their Academic Support Advisor with information about the next steps leading up to course registration.

May-June: Review information below about Great Problems Seminars and your major recommendations. 

June 3-June 14: Students and families are invited to participate in one of our First-Year Welcome Experiences where students will have an opportunity to meet with their Academic Support Advisor and submit their course preferences. If you are unable to attend an in-person or virtual First-Year Welcome Experience, your Academic Support Advisor will contact you in mid-June regarding next steps for course registration.

Mid-July: Your Academic Support Advisor will register you for Fall courses based on the course preferences you selected at your First Year Welcome Experience, as well as course availability.

Students will have the opportunity to connect with their Academic Support Advisor and submit their course preferences at one of our First-Year Welcome Experiences. Students and families who are not able to attend one of our in-person programs will be able to participate in a virtual experience and connect with their advisor. Your Academic Support Advisor in the Office of Academic Advising will review your course preferences and register you for your fall courses by mid-July based upon your preferences and course availability. When this is completed, you will receive outreach via your WPI e-mail address to review your schedule. 

Mid-November: First year students course registration becomes live.

Registration for Spring Semester courses will occur in Mid-November.  Please make sure to create more than one plan for your C and D term courses just in case you don’t get into your first selections. Your Insight Advisor is available to assist you with your schedule.

Guidelines for Course Selection By Major

Below, click on your major to see what you should consider taking for A and B term. If you have any questions, you have been assigned an Academic Support Advisor in the Office of Academic Advising who you can contact to get help.  If you have any problems, email academic-advising@wpi.edu and we will be happy to help!

List of Majors:

AEROSPACE ENGINEERING
ARCHITECTURAL ENGINEERING
BIOCHEMISTRY
BIOINFORMATICS & COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY
BIOLOGY & BIOTECHNOLOGY
BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING
CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
CHEMISTRY
CIVIL ENGINEERING
COMPUTER SCIENCE

DATA SCIENCE
ELECTRICAL & COMPUTER ENGINEERING

ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING
INTERACTIVE MEDIA & GAME DEVELOPMENT
BUSINESS, MGMT ENG, INFORMATION SYSTEMS
MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES & ACTUARIAL MATHEMATICS
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
PHYSICS
PRE-HEALTH
ROBOTICS ENGINEERING
SOCIAL SCIENCE & POLICY STUDIES
UNDECIDED - students can speak with a professor in their major of interest or meet with staff in the Career Development Center (CDC) to discuss majors/career options

Students can change their major, minor, or concentration in Workday. Students wishing to add a minor should reach out to their advisor. Each academic department's webpage has information on minor requirements.

Math and Language Placement
  1. Completing the Math Placement Exam is required for students who intend to register for Calculus in the Fall semester. Be sure to consider your Math Placement results when selecting course preferences. It is the best guide for selecting the most appropriate math course in A and B terms.
  2. Students considering a foreign language should consider taking the placement exam to determine which level of the language you should begin with:
    1. For Spanish Placement Information, Please Email: Professor Angel Rivera (arivera@wpi.edu)
    2. For German Placement Information, Please Email: Professor Daniel DiMassa (ddimassa@wpi.edu)
    3. For Arabic Placement Information, Please Email: Professor Mohammed El Hamzaoui (melhamzaoui@wpi.edu)
    4. For Chinese Placement Information, Please Email: Professor Wen-Hua Du (wdu2@wpi.edu)
    5. For English Language (International Students) Information, Please Email: Professor Althea Danielski (amdanielski@wpi.edu) and Professor Esther Boucher-Yip (efboucher@wpi.edu)
Advanced Placement (AP) Credit, International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit, and Transfer Credit

Consider if you have AP, IB, or Transfer Credit when selecting course preferences. We recognize that you may not have received all of your scores by the time you select your course preferences. We suggest that you assume you will receive credit for the exams you took. Keep in mind that you cannot receive credit for the same course twice, so if you received credit from your exams, you should not take the course again.

Program Tracking Sheets

Program Tracking Sheets can help you to see the full curriculum for your intended program of study.

Find your Program Tracking Sheet for your major here

Academic Advising

The Office of Academic Advising is here to guide and connect you with resources to assist with your academic plans and goals throughout your time at WPI. As a first year student, here are some important things to know:

  • You will need to declare your major by the end of B-Term, at which time you will be assigned a Faculty Advisor in your major—an individual that will serve as your primary advisor for the remainder of your time at WPI. If you are still undecided, the Office of Academic Advising has many resources to help you explore your options and interests. Contact us for more information.
  • The Office of Academic Advising oversees the Academic Resources Center (ARC). The student-based, collaborative learning environment of the ARC offers individualized assistance in a variety of introductory subjects through a comprehensive peer-tutoring program designed to assist WPI students in achieving their academic potential. The ARC offers group, drop-in tutoring (Math and Science Help or MASH) as well as 1-on-1 peer tutoring. 
  • We also host the Summer Academic Success Program (SASP), an opportunity for students who have struggled academically during the school year to take courses during E-Term to help improve their academic performance. 
  • You can schedule an appointment with an advisor through Tutortrac. Note: Incoming first-year students do not have access to Tutortrac until the start of the academic year

Meet our Academic Advising team.

Great Problems Seminar (GPS)

The Great Problems Seminar (GPS) is a two-term course that immerses first-year students into university-level research and introduces them to the project-based curriculum at WPI. As part of The Global School at WPI, the course gives students and faculty the opportunity to step outside their disciplines to solve problems focused on themes of global importance. 

Project Opportunities in the First Year: Great Problems Seminar

About the Course

How many courses are there that give you credit for working on one of the world’s most pressing challenges?  And while you are working on issues of pandemic, food, energy, climate change, sheltering the displaced, you will also develop great friendships, important skills and valuable relationships with faculty.  Best of all, your solution could make a real difference in someone’s life. 

The Great Problem Seminars (GPS) give first-year students and faculty the opportunity to step outside their disciplines to solve problems focused on themes of global importance, culminating in annual Poster Presentation Days that celebrate students’ innovative research. While tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems, students who choose these classes will develop skills, knowledge and confidence valuable not only for the rest of their college career, but also for life.

Each GPS consists of two linked courses that are taught by two professors from different disciplines. In the first term you will explore many facets of a great problem, such as air pollution, access to clean water, or disease control. In the second term you will work in a team to produce a solution and share it with the WPI community.

GPS topic examples include:

  • Climate Change
  • Extinction: Who will survive?
  • Heal the World
  • Humanitarian Engineering
  • Ignorance is NOT Bliss
  • Livable Cities
  • Seeking Sustainability
  • Power the World
  • Recover, Reuse, Recycle
  • Shelter the World

Alumni of the GPS give more information about their experience in the video below and credit the course for:

  • Increased confidence
  • Increased willingness to take on a leadership role
  • Increased comfort tackling their IQP
  • Stronger applications for internships and co-ops

GPS Can Change Our World

Unlike most work in courses, these projects live on—used by people all over the world with over 65,000 downloads of student project materials to date!

Read more about GPS here. View a record of a GPS course here

GPS Course Structure and Credit

GPS courses are a two-term linked project experience taught by two faculty members.  In the first term you will explore many facets of a great problem and then, in the second, work in a team with support of faculty to produce a solution, and show it off to the whole campus!  Note that each course carries different credit. Click here to learn more about where the GPS credit  will count in your degree program.

Great Problems Seminars are available in either A-Term and B-term or B-term and C-term.

Meet Our GPS Faculty

Marja Bakermans, Associate Teaching Professor

The goal of my research program is to promote conservation of biodiversity by maintaining viable wildlife populations across the landscape. Specifically, my research addresses the influence of anthropogenic disturbances, like forest management, urbanization, and agriculture, on wildlife. It is my goal to open students’ eyes to the evolving and interconnected world of science by using my research as an example of how to assimilate science and the role of conservation in today’s world. Ultimately, it is my goal to provide an inclusive and enjoyable environment that fosters the learning process for students and allows us all to be lifelong learners. Learn more.

Courtney Kurlanska, Assistant Teaching Professor

The goal of my research program is to promote conservation of biodiversity by maintaining viable wildlife populations across the landscape. Specifically, my research addresses the influence of anthropogenic disturbances, like forest management, urbanization, and agriculture, on wildlife. It is my goal to open students’ eyes to the evolving and interconnected world of science by using my research as an example of how to assimilate science and the role of conservation in today’s world. Ultimately, it is my goal to provide an inclusive and enjoyable environment that fosters the learning process for students and allows us all to be lifelong learners. Learn more.

Geoffrey Pfeifer, Associate Teaching Professor

Professor Pfeifer’s research focus is on Contemporary Continental thought, social and political philosophy, global justice, and development ethics. He teaches for the first year Great Problems Seminars program and also holds a joint appointment in the department of Humanities and Arts where he teaches philosophy courses.  Learn more.

Derren Rosbach, Associate Teaching Professor

The overarching goal of my teaching and research is to contribute to an interdisciplinary understanding of environmental governance and policy. More specifically, I focus on the building of individual, organizational and institutional capacities to participate in collaborative efforts to address complex social and environmental sustainability problems through the application of science and technology.  Learn more.

Elisabeth “Lisa” Stoddard, Assistant Teaching Professor

Professor Stoddard’s research focuses on the policy and politics of food production in a changing climate and global economy. Her work analyzes the ways in which the governance of agriculture and livestock production shapes our food systems’ vulnerability and capacity to adapt to drought, floods, the global spread of disease, and other hazards. She is also interested in issues of environmental injustice in the livestock industry and the ability of social movements to make powerful changes, especially in the age of social media.  Learn more.

Robert W. Traver, Teaching Professor

Two overarching questions direct Dr. Traver’s career: What is the nature of teaching? What is the teaching of nature? The majority of Dr. Traver’s fourteen years at WPI deals with the development and administration of education programs that involve science and engineering content and related teaching and training of teachers. Currently he focuses on project-based undergraduate engineering education with emphasis on related instruction and on project design and delivery for sustainable development.  Learn more.

Climate Change (A and B Term)

Global climate change is here, from sea level rise, to stronger storms, and more dangerous wildfire seasons – just to name a few impacts. What does it mean to live in this new environment? What does it mean for our ecosystems and civilization? How can we adapt to a new and unpredictable climate and mitigate practices that could lead to further warming? We will examine the causes and consequences of climate change on the environment and people, incorporating a local to global approach. Both scientific (environment, ecology, wildlife, weather events) and humanistic (politics, ethics, economics, social justice) pieces of the climate puzzle will be investigated. This course will place a special emphasis on valuing differential impacts on vulnerable people and habitats. While working toward identifying a problem that your team can solve, you will build skills in critical thinking, teamwork, communication, and ethics.

This GPS carries 1/3 unit BB1000 credit and 1/3 unit INTL1000 (counts towards HUA) credit.

Course numbers FY 1100 sand FY 1101

Recover, Reuse, Recycle (A and B Term)

This course focuses on material resources and reusing them—recycling. It blends engineering with humanities and builds a framework for the world in which students will live, showing them how they can make the world different through their ingenuity and innovation. Policy and societal issues are also discussed in the context of the recovery and recycling. Students collaborate with the NSF Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling (CR3) and work on projects sponsored by leading global corporations.

This GPS carries 1/3 unit ES 1000 credit and 1/3 unit HU1100 credit.

Course numbers FY 1100 and FY 1101

Seeking Sustainability (A and B Term)

If the moment we are living in has revealed anything, it is that our contemporary modes of life are deeply unsustainable. The world’s ecosystems and social systems are vulnerable to a number of accelerating threats from environmental degradation and climate change to economic inequality and environmental injustice. The recent global pandemic has added to this and shone a light on unsustainability while also giving us a glimpse of a possible future with reduced fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. In this class we will look at these problems from a number of perspectives and try to understand what a transition to a more sustainable mode of existence might entail.

This GPS carries 1/3 unit SS1000 credit and 1/3 unit HU1100 credit.

Course numbers FY 1100 and FY 1101

Heal the World (A and B Term)

Heal the World:

What are the greatest threats to global health? Antibiotic resistant ‘super bugs’? Lack of access to needed medications and adequate health care? Substance abuse and mental wellbeing? Access to green spaces? In this hands-on course, students will work in teams to research and develop technological, biological, policy-driven, and other types of solutions to help answer these questions in cases around the world. Student project groups will explore issues of inequity, resource scarcity, and historical barriers to access, and design ethical, sustainable solutions based on their research.

This GPS carries 1/3 unit CH1000 credit and 1/3 unit SSPS1000 credit.

Course numbers FY 1100 and FY 1101

Extinction: Who Will Survive? (A and B Term)

Throughout most of Earth’s history, species disappeared at an average rate of 1 to 5 per year, and fossil evidence shows that five mass extinction catastrophes have occurred. Scientists estimate that we are witnessing the sixth mass extinction. Where are extinctions currently having the greatest impact? How might conservation efforts prevent them? This Great Problems Seminar examines debates about past and present causes of extinction, the factors that contribute to vulnerability or resiliency of endangered species, and the consequences of species loss, including the links with pathogenic outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

This GPS carries 1/3 unit CH1000 credit and 1/3 unit SSPS1100 credit.

Course numbers FY 1100 and FY 1101

 

Shelter the World (A and B Term)

How do you provide shelter for over 7 billion people, almost half of whom live on less than $5.50 a day? With rising slum populations and increasing natural disasters, homes damaged by earthquakes and overflowing refugee camps, how do we address the growing demands for safe living spaces? What do we need to understand as designers, engineers, or aid workers to provide shelter for the world? Working in teams in this design studio, we will learn about relevant design concepts, the Design-Build process, materials, and structure to address this housing challenge. We will build a shelter-model that is affordable, safe, and appropriate for our selected population.

This GPS carries 1/3 unit CE1000 credit and 1/3 unit SSPS1000 credit.

Course numbers FY 1100 and FY 1101

Our Unequal World (A and B Term)

Why does inequality continue to increase even as the global economy grows? Has it always been this way? Is the US really number 1? Is the growing inequality both within and between countries inevitable? If not, how can it be addressed through social infrastructure? This course will examine the causes of inequality both in the US and abroad, examining historical, cultural, and political factors that influence how global inequality has reached such heights. In the second part of the course, we will explore and develop strategies for addressing issues of inequality experienced in our local community.

This GPS carries 1/3 unit BUS1000 credit and 1/3 unit SS1000 credit.

Course numbers FY 1100 and FY 1101

Humanitarian Engineering (B and C Term)

This course explores the concepts of development, technology, and water access in a remote region of southwest Morocco, where indigenous people have historically been denied access to basic human rights, including water and sanitation. In recent decades, climate change and other factors have further damaged the water access of these rural villages. To both study and address the problem, this course will explore the culturally appropriate and technologically advanced methods of harvesting water from fog that have been used by the NGO Dar Si Hmad (http://darsihmad.org/fog/), which operates the largest fog water harvesting system in the world. Our approach is integrative, where students work on teams to learn approaches and concepts from engineering, humanities, and the integration of these disciplines.

This GPS carries 1/3 unit HU1100 credit and 1/3 unit ES1000 credit.

Smart and Sustainable Cities (A and B Term)

Smart city tools deploy sensors in the urban environment to aid public service provision, resource management, law enforcement, hiring practices, and other critical areas of living and working in cities.  Artificial intelligence supercharges these possibilities. These technologies reflect the prevailing social values of our society – they express the legacies and current realities of social injustice and represent sites of experimentation for more socially just futures. What values are designed into the tools and sensors? How do they reflect histories of race, class, and gender? How do they engage and empower? How do they remake the city and the relationship between humans, nature, and technology. 

This GPS carries 1/3 unit ES 1000 credit and 1/3 unit SS1000 credit.

Course numbers FY 1100 and FY 1101

Power the World (B and C Term)

Every community faces energy problems. Solutions to these problems involve both positive and negative consequences. Fossil fuels currently dominate the energy landscape but have impacts that are becoming less and less acceptable. Renewable sources of energy, like wind and solar, are gaining traction but present a whole new set of challenges. This course investigates the depth and breadth of energy production, transmission, and use. It explores the technical, social, economic, and environmental effects and challenges of power generation.

This GPS carries 1/3 unit PH1000 credit and 1/3 unit SS1000 credit.

Course numbers FY 1100 and FY 1101

AI, Design, and Society (B and C Term)

What does it mean to be human in an increasingly digital world? In AI, Design, and Society we will explore the history and future of artificial intelligence, and imagine new futures with, or without, AI. Join this class to get hands-on opportunity to build and use AI systems, understand their role in our society, and design interactive experiences that depict, integrate, and critique the role of AI in our daily lives. Through your project work, you will gain skills in interdisciplinary teamwork, user experience design, and programming. 

Credits: This GPS carries 1/3 unit CS 1000 credit and 1/3 unit SS1000 credit.

Course numbers FY 1100 and FY 1101